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The inaugural IDFFHK International Design Furniture Fair Hong Kong was staged at the Hall 3FG, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre last week between 21-23 August. IDFFHK is marketing themselves as the first Asia’s premier luxury design, furniture and lifestyle fair. Although it felt like a rather small and intimate affair, over 5,000 sqm exhibition space with more than 40 of the world’s most prestigious brands under 23 exhibitors showcased some of their latest collections inspecially designed exhibition spaces at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Being a design fair, we expected more than the 'usual' rather uninspiring decor at the fairs at the HKCEC (fashion week included..). And we were not disappointed.

In addition to the booths at the fair, a Dialogue Speakers Series with some of the most influential names in design and architecture complemented the fair throughout the three days. 

“Hong Kong’s favourable trade and business climate and its location as the gateway to China, coupled with the region’s fast growing appreciation of quality and craftsmanship have made it an international hub for fine wine, watches and contemporary art. With the arising awareness of other Asian cities, for example Singapore and Shanghai, towards exquisite design, Hong Kong must strengthen its promotion on appreciation of design. I hope, through IDFFHK, all Asian countries can be inspired for design development”

said, Winnie Yue, the founder of IDFFHK.

Some of the supporting organisations are the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Italian Trade Commission, UBS, Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Hong Kong Interior Design Association etc.

IDFFHK’s 23 exhibitors were a "who’s who" of designer brands from both local and European origin, including renowned leather Italian brands Poltrona Frau and Cassina, the German outdoor furniture brand Dedon, exquisite French crystal house Lalique, Baccarat of France, Alno, one of the most recognized kitchen brands in Europe and the renowned architect Zaha Hadid Collections (UK). Hong Kong’s own Tang Tang Tang Tang was also represented and Alan Chan, the renowned local designer, showcased his first furniture design “SILKROAD Collection” in IDFFHK including a feature of Chan’s photography series with his six pairs of friends.

Alan Chan SILKROAD Collection

Photo Courtesy of IDFFHK


In the first day, talks were given by Mr. Alan Chan, the renowned local designer; Mr. Andre Fu, Principle, AFSO who designed The Upper House and Mr. Pinky Lai, former Chief Designer, Porsche.

We attended some of the second day of talks, but unfortunately the talk by Lyndon Neri of Neri & Hu which we had really looked forward to, was very rushed. As he tried to cram in too many projects and products into one talk, we cannot really summarise it, and so instead we will focus on the brilliant talk by Mr. Fred Clarke and highlight some of the key takeaways of his talk below:

Fred Clarke is the Senior Principle of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects who designed many international landmarks including IFC (HK) and Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. He started off mentioning some of their previous projects but spent most of his time talking about their latest project, a gigantic transport terminal in San Francisco which will be finished in two years time. The San Francisco Transit Center will connect eight Bay Area counties and the State of California through 11 transportation systems: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Greyhound, Muni, SamTrans, WestCAT Lynx, Amtrak, Paratransit and California’s future High Speed Rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim. A fascinating project, it brings together art, design, architecture and sustainability in a both very impressive but also comprehensive way.

3D rendering by steelblue for Pelli Clarke Pelli.

3D rendering by steelblue for Pelli Clarke Pelli. Image Courtesy:

Being situated in the middle of San Francisco, the architects wanted this building to be something special, a focal point and a place to gather. At the same time it needed to be highly technical and efficient, since it will be the transportation hub for all bus and train traffic in the Bay Area. This was done by housing the train part of the operations in the basement, with a ticketing and waiting hall on the floor above. On the ground floor there is space for retail and food outlets, and on the floor above houses the bus terminal. Towering above it all is the roof area, which is covered by a 5.4-acre rooftop public park, with lots of common areas and an amphitheatre which seats 1,500 people! Another great feature on the roof, is the motion sensor water features which mimics bus movements below and allows children to splash around and play in the water, and which in a smart way brings the transport element up to the roof.

Transbay Transit Center SECTION

Transbay Transit Center SECTION. Image courtesy:

Incorporating the groundbreaking geometrical pattern of Dr. Roger Penrose, the eminent British mathematical physicist, in the undulating metal facade, the whole building is enclosed with this metal cocoon. According to Mr. Clarke, it took a team a whole year to figure out how to optimise this. But we are glad they took the time, as the result is absolutely gorgeous. In the daytime it catches the sunlight, and in the evening, the pattern really comes out as the building is lit from the inside.


Image courtesy:

There is a lot of art in the building as well, some examples include gorgeous patterns incorporated on the floor, and there is also a Light Art installation on one of the three pillars that run all the way from the roof to the basement, bringing in natural light to the whole building and making it not just bright and airy, but also safe, which is definitely one important aspect of a transport hub. The whole building is naturally ventilated with a natural flow of air, again adding to its environmentally responsible profile.

If you want to read more about this gorgeous project, you can do so here




Cotter Christian, Professor of Interior Design, SCAD Hong Kong spoke about the importance of education in design and how in todays world of social media and access to information, students really have to try to distance themselves from it in order not to be influenced too much. The risk is otherwise that we don't come up with any new ideas, but rather just recycle and merge different ideas into "new" designs, which actually are not that new or innovative at all. Cotter Christian advocates taking a step back from Instagram, Pinterest and the likes - to really focus on your own creativity.


We loved the set up of the booth of local interior design store Lab Noir. Image courtesy of IDFFHK

We loved the set up of the booth of local interior design store Lab Noir. Image courtesy of IDFFHK


Other speakers where Mr. Michael Ng, Partner, Foster + Partners; and Mr. Vincent Pang, winner of the competition to design the West Kowloon Cultural District Arts Pavilion, sharing their extraordinary insight in design to publics. On Sunday there was also a panel talk of the future of design in HK, moderated by no other than Home Journal's Kissa Castaneda. One of the key takeaways was that there has been a substantial shift in the perception of parents and families in Hong Kong, allowing young students to pursue an education and career in, design. This in turn should bring us a whole new generation of great, local designers. We can't wait.




      • Transbay Transit Center SECTION
      • ttc_beal-st-view
      • 3D rendering by steelblue for Pelli Clarke Pelli.
      • IMG_1790_Lyndon Neri
      • IMG_1633_Fred Clarke
      • _LAM5499_Lab Noir
      • Alan Chan SILKROAD Collection


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